Now back to our regularly schedule program...
Thursday night marked another fine evening for Roundhouse action in the CityWide Thursday Night Softball Men's/Mixed League Tournament. We put a good team out on the field. Mayhem at short. Elders, the crafty vet, at catcher. Angry Tim and Kool Aid locking down the left side of the outfield. I spotted up at first. Our first game would match us up against a team from Golden Light, a local cafe/bar. They didn't really look all that tough, but they talked tough. We rolled with rather quiet confidence. At first base, I was staring right into the setting sun which, when you're at first, looking into the sun, standing six feet tall and a left-handed hitter comes to the plate, you get as low as you can and pray you don't catch one on the forehead. I'd flinch every time I would hear bat hitting ball. At one point, I hit the deck and it was a fly ball that landed about fifteen feet behind me. I wasn't taking my chances.
In the third inning, after a walk (because real pimps don't run, they walk) I advanced over to third base and Steve Sosodef comes to bat. I remember looking down the line and envisioning him firing an absolute cannonball down the line. He's a dead pull hitter and I've managed to dodge a few of his fireballs. The shadows from the fencing were crossing my line of view and the sunlight was cutting through some good ol' West Texas dust making the visibility not necessarily optimal. I stood there awaiting my fate. The pitcher releases an absolutely perfect pitch and WHAP! I see the ball leave Steve's bat and it's no higher than four feet off the ground and it's coming right for me.
With only a second to react, I lift up and to the outside corner of the bag not knowing that instead of avoiding the ball, I was actually putting myself right in the line of fire. Well, when an object is travelling at about 85-90 mph and you have manatee-like quickness like me, there's really no time for reaction and you might receive one of these babies.
The Sox, on the other hand, played a marathon 9-inning game that ended at 11:45 locally. Fenway Faithful even got involved when some kid named Danny Vinik reached out and stole a foul ball right out of the hands of Angels' catcher Mathis. That same inning, a sac fly (made possible by the out spared by Vinik) would score the tying run. Vinik's the kid in the white and where his hands are clasped above his head is where that game ball resides. Barehanded no less. And, if you look behind his hands, there's the outline of a man in a beige hat and a faded red t-shirt. That'd be none other than the great Stephen King who, after witnessing Danny's heroism, gave him a hearty "atta boy" while beating him on the back. How awesome. Watch the replay.
After stellar performances by both bullpens, it would come down to a hibernating Manny. You had to think he would eventually pull out of it.
Friday night he did. In fact, on Friday night he hit his 21st postseason homer (second all time)and his first walk-off as a member of the Red Sox. To say he "hit" a homer is understating it greatly. That thing disappeared into the Boston night leaving the park, sailing over the Cask N Flagon, through the parking lots behind the Monster. There's no telling where that thing ended up. And like any great Manny moment, dude pimped that home run like only he can, standing just behind home plate, extending his open hands above his head and just watches the ball sail into the sky for nearly five seconds. Haven't seen Manny that happy in a long time as he stomped toward home plate and jumped into the crowd of Red Sox. Yankee fans, that's how playoff games are won--clutch performances.
Just a quick note for Gabby at Infinity for the funk records. The Pete Jolly is insanely samplicious.